Making Mental Health a Priority

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Making Mental Health a Priority

Craig DeWit is the General Manager of Midco Sports®. He’s a husband, father of five, active in his church and community, a pickleball player, the owner of two dogs and the recent adopter of a brood of baby ducklings. Suffice to say, he’s got a lot going on. But start a conversation with him, and you wouldn’t have any idea how full his plate is.

“I’ve always been a laid-back guy,” explained DeWit. “My wife would tell you that I’m normally extremely relaxed and chill, rolling with all of life’s twists and turns. I’ve been able to handle a lot and have always thought mental health was extremely important for others. I had never thought twice about it for myself.”

Last summer though, that mentality changed. DeWit discovered the importance of self-care when he found a new trait creeping into his daily life: anxiety.

“If you know, you know,” said DeWit. “People who deal with this understand, and people that don’t, don’t. It doesn’t make sense to them because common sense should be able to get you out of this mental spiral, but it doesn’t.”

DeWit had experienced a few panic attacks in the past, but he felt they were always tied to a specific trigger or circumstance. However, in the summer of 2021, they became more frequent with seemingly no rhyme or reason.

“We were on family trips and mission trips, and when I got home, I was not in a good headspace,” recalled DeWit. “I was just freaking myself out because I couldn’t get out of my head.”

After having a severe panic attack at church, where he usually feels the most at home, DeWit realized that it was time to seek help – and fast.

“I couldn’t handle it. I felt confined,” remembered DeWit. “We left, and I said I needed to go to a behavioral health center. I was completely open to it, but then I started worrying about being confined there, and these feelings of not being in control just took over. Thankfully, I had some medication that took about 30 minutes to kick in, and I could go see someone the next day without having to be checked in to a facility.”

Finding peace in the midst of panic.

Almost a year after DeWit’s anxiety flared up, he feels much more like his former, laid-back self. But his arrival at this new state of mind was not without a lot of work and self-reflection.

“I started going to counseling, and after going, I believe that every single person in the world should have a counselor,” stated DeWit. “It’s so spectacular even if you don’t think you have issues. Go.”

For DeWit, therapy revealed the roots of his anxiety and claustrophobia. It also helped him find ways to cope when those feelings became too overwhelming.

“One of the key pieces that the counselor helped me realize was that the opposite of anxiety was peace,” recounted DeWit. “Previously when I had a panic attack, I would go to Bible verses about being anxious. But he told me that what I was doing was putting the spotlight on anxiousness. He told me instead to look for ones about peace and not to dwell in the anxiety. And I just thought how brilliant that was.”

Therapy also opened DeWit’s eyes to how his big, beautiful, busy life had crowded out time for just being – something he and his wife are working to rectify.

“One of the things we do is try and create some margins in our day,” explained DeWit. “We love a tidy ship. We would get up in the morning and go go go. We didn’t take time to watch TV, to sit and to relax. So, now we make sure to take some downtime more than ever before.”

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Craig and his wife, Rebecca, taking time to relax. 

Finding support at work.

While DeWit found it natural to share his mental health struggles with his wife and pastor, he wasn’t sure how his manager and coworkers at Midco would respond.

“I wondered if I should say something,” questioned DeWit. “Would that be used against me in the future? But I honestly got to the point where I didn’t really care because I needed help. However, talking about it hasn’t affected my status at work, and I don’t believe it will.”

After the incredible amount of support DeWit received from people at Midco, he wants to encourage others to not hold these feelings in.

“If you’re bottling it up, they can’t help you because they have no clue what’s been going on,” explained DeWit. “Midco has been amazing with the benefits we have, including the ability to go see a counselor. The company understands how vital a service like that is.”

After sharing with his team and opening up on social media about his experiences, DeWit was asked to share his story with other Midco leaders. Since that presentation, DeWit was astounded by the feedback he received.

“The amount of people who reached out to me one-on-one was nonstop,” said DeWit. “I knew people were struggling, but it just proves the point that it’s everywhere.”

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Craig DeWit is the General Manager of Midco Sports. 

Finding out you’re not alone.

In the last few years, mental health has become a more common phrase and is slowly shaking its former taboo status. While there is still much ground to cover, people like DeWit are making strides to normalize conversations around mental health.

“I want to get rid of the stigma of it,” emphasized DeWit. “If you’ve got a broken arm, it’s out there, people are going to talk about it and you’re going to get it fixed. Why should mental health be any different? Just because it’s mental health and not physical health doesn’t mean it’s any less important. It’s the most important. Take care of it.”

While DeWit is a self-described open book, he knows that not everyone will feel comfortable speaking out about their journey as he has. Instead, he offered one piece of advice for those looking for some relief from their depression or anxiety.

“The first thing is to contact at least one person that you trust,” stated DeWit. “It doesn’t have to be a big scary thing to reach out to a counselor immediately or to a behavioral health center. Reach out to one person, so you’re not going it alone.”

That advice comes from experience because DeWit knows those thoughts can be very isolating. He even acknowledges that from the outside, his life probably appears pretty perfect with his great job, amazing family and incredible church. So, he makes it a point to share his struggles along with his blessings.

“I don’t have it altogether. Who does? Just know that you are not alone, and there shouldn't be one ounce of shame or stigma admitting it or talking about it.”

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The DeWit Family: Rebecca, Haley, Aiden, Aftyn, Craig, Judah and Elijah